UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF JOURNALISM SEPTEMBER 24, 2008 Art of the Interview & Working With Numbers
Today’s class <ul><li>Story ideas for next week </li></ul><ul><li>Working with Numbers </li></ul><ul><li>Setting up your b...
Creating a ‘Budget Line’ <ul><li>‘ Selling your story’ </li></ul><ul><li>Capturing the ‘so what’/’who cares’ </li></ul><ul...
Elements of a Great Story <ul><li>Action – News </li></ul><ul><li>Great Interviews Lead to Great Quotes </li></ul><ul><ul>...
Tips for Great Interviews <ul><li>Listen carefully </li></ul><ul><li>Observe </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Capture details:  </li>...
Elements of a Great Feature Story <ul><li>Stories with a ‘voice’, a ‘tone’, a ‘narrative’ </li></ul><ul><li>Most often wri...
<ul><li>Reader interest: What’s the most interesting thing for your reader? </li></ul><ul><li>Memorable item:  What’s wort...
<ul><li>F.O.R.K. =  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>F ocus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What’s the story? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul>...
<ul><li>O rder: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are most important points/topics  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Several tips on cr...
<ul><li>R epetition of Keywords </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>As you finish one paragraph, you pick up that word or phrase as ...
Numbers, Numbers, Numbers <ul><li>Questions to ask yourself: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why am I using this number? </li></ul><...
Keeping It Simple <ul><li>Too many numbers scare readers away </li></ul><ul><li>Humanize numbers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e....
Calculating Percentages <ul><li>Percentage Increases </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. City Budget grew from $40,000 one year to ...
Percentage Decreases <ul><li>The budget was reduced from $50,000 one year to $40,000 the next. How much was that? </li></u...
Polls & Surveys <ul><li>Clearly identify the source </li></ul><ul><li>Cite the sample size </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How was i...
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Publicaffairs Interview&Numbers Sept242008

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Public Affairs Reporting 4410 - Interview Tips and Number Stories

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Publicaffairs Interview&Numbers Sept242008

  1. 1. UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF JOURNALISM SEPTEMBER 24, 2008 Art of the Interview & Working With Numbers
  2. 2. Today’s class <ul><li>Story ideas for next week </li></ul><ul><li>Working with Numbers </li></ul><ul><li>Setting up your blog </li></ul><ul><li>Debate Watch </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Post on your blog …. 300 -500 words … </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Creating a ‘Budget Line’ <ul><li>‘ Selling your story’ </li></ul><ul><li>Capturing the ‘so what’/’who cares’ </li></ul><ul><li>Very short, clear and accurate </li></ul><ul><li>Helps editors understand what stories are available from all reporters </li></ul>
  4. 4. Elements of a Great Story <ul><li>Action – News </li></ul><ul><li>Great Interviews Lead to Great Quotes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In person </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Over the phone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Follow them around </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be a witness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get actualities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Vivid, description </li></ul>
  5. 5. Tips for Great Interviews <ul><li>Listen carefully </li></ul><ul><li>Observe </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Capture details: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gestures, figures of speech, clothing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Write so that you appeal to all five senses: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bring the character to life </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Recreate the scene </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Show people as they are </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Show how they interact with others </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Elements of a Great Feature Story <ul><li>Stories with a ‘voice’, a ‘tone’, a ‘narrative’ </li></ul><ul><li>Most often written in present tense instead of past </li></ul><ul><li>Creative writing, but factual </li></ul><ul><li>Feature and delayed leads, but there’s still a ‘so what’ </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Reader interest: What’s the most interesting thing for your reader? </li></ul><ul><li>Memorable item: What’s worth sharing with your reader? </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on a person: Is there someone who exemplifies the problem or issue. Will this person tie to your point in the nut graph? </li></ul><ul><li>Descriptive approach: will a description of the scene relate to the focus? </li></ul><ul><li>Build on a quote: Is there one to back up the lead </li></ul><ul><li>Narrative storytelling: Can you reconstruct the events to put the reader on the scene? </li></ul>Finding Your Lead
  8. 8. <ul><li>F.O.R.K. = </li></ul><ul><ul><li>F ocus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What’s the story? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can you tell a friend? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What’s your headline </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>O rder </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sift through your notes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Identify the 5 Ws </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Identify the sources most important to the story </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How do you know that? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Let’s practice: </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Police shooting? House fire? Football team wins? University President resigns? Profile of a professor? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>Story Structure
  9. 9. <ul><li>O rder: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are most important points/topics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Several tips on creating order: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Chronological : sequence of events </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Topical : Most important to least important </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Particularly useful when covering meetings </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Personality : The best quotes that best tell the story </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ending – the ‘Kicker’: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Is there a quote that summarizes the story? </li></ul></ul></ul>Story structure cont.
  10. 10. <ul><li>R epetition of Keywords </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>As you finish one paragraph, you pick up that word or phrase as a transition. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ He got into a car and they conducted a felony vehicle traffic stop,” Fonda said. “ They pulled him out of the car and arrested him.” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reyes did not resist arrest; however, he tried to give Marshals a false name but was positively identified, Fonda said.” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Keywords help: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The reader understand what’s important </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Help you as the writer to keep focused </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>Story structure cont.
  11. 11. Numbers, Numbers, Numbers <ul><li>Questions to ask yourself: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why am I using this number? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What does it tell the reader? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What’s significant about it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How does it compare/contrast with past/current performances? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who is the source of the number? Are they the best source? Can you get it from the original source? </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Keeping It Simple <ul><li>Too many numbers scare readers away </li></ul><ul><li>Humanize numbers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. The Denton County Commission voted to increase property taxes 2.5%, meaning that the owner of a $75,000 home would pay $25 more a year in taxes. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wording </li></ul><ul><ul><li>OK: The crime rate jumped 10% last year, compared with 15% this year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BETTER: The crime rate jumped 15% this year, up from 10% for the same period. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Calculating Percentages <ul><li>Percentage Increases </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. City Budget grew from $40,000 one year to $50,000 the next? What’s the increase? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Find the difference: $50,000 - $40,000 = $10,000 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Divide the difference into the original amount: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>10,000 divided by 40,000 - .25 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Multiply your answer by 100: 100x .25 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Your story: “The city budget grew $10,000, a 25 percent increase over last year. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Percentage Decreases <ul><li>The budget was reduced from $50,000 one year to $40,000 the next. How much was that? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fine the difference: $50,000 - $40,000 = $10,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Divide the difference into the original amount: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>10,000 divided by 50,000 equals .20 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiply your answer by 100: 100 x .20 = 20 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Your story reads: The budget decreased by $10,000, a 20 percent drop from last year. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Polls & Surveys <ul><li>Clearly identify the source </li></ul><ul><li>Cite the sample size </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How was it chosen? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What’s the original source of your data? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Carefully review the wording and order of the questions </li></ul><ul><li>Consider all the variables </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How was survey conducted? In person? Over the phone? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How long was each interview? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who conducted the interviews? </li></ul></ul>

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